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A decent but forgettable episode of Gotham, "Arkham" shines when the focus shifts to Jim Gordon and Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot.
The more stream-lined, overarching gang war story between Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni with supporting players Oswald Cobblepot and Co. have Gotham set firmly on the right track after its rocky start.
While the episode dealt with Arkham more in the abstract than actually making it "part of the action," it was still a good episode, and probably the best yet.
There are television shows that require you to turn off your brain, and there's nothing wrong with those. And then there are television shows that actually assault your brain, which is what Gotham seems to be turning into.
Essentially, "Arkham" is like if all of your worst fears about what a prequel show like this might devolve into laid bare on the tube for all to see.
The closest the show has come to being truly captivating, and for the first half-hour, I was enthralled.
Basically, this is an episode that works. The show may still be a ways from 'great television,' but it is taking better steps forward this week, as opposed to the mixed bag that was last week's episode.
It's fair to say that while Gotham's biggest challenge (keeping so many separate threads in line) persists, this week's episode succeeds simply because its standalone sections were mostly on point.
An episode that displayed the show's usual problems - rampant cliches, leaden dialogue - unleavened by some of the livelier touches we've seen in previous weeks.
After the bordering on silly "Balloonman" episode, this one firmly reestablished the fact that "Gotham" wasn't playing around. The 60's era "Batman" this ain't, to be sure.
A clear pattern is developing with this show, as once again the Penguin's plot is the best thing about the episode.